Kenya & Conner’s Chic and Airy Marina District Apartment

updated Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)

Name: Kenya Moncada and Conner Jay and their dog, Hugo
Marina District — San Francisco, California
Size: 900 square feet
Years lived in: 1.5 years; Rented

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When Kenya and Conner aren’t traveling for work, they can be found at home in their top floor Marina District apartment in San Francisco. Their space is filled with pieces they have collected from their journeys, from rugs from Iran to botanical prints from Paris—and, most recently, a tiny wooden stool from Tanzania. Each treasure gives the home character, bringing a bit of depth into every room.

(Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)

When they furnished the space, the couple mixed classic, understated pieces with bits of mid-century modern elegance. The black leather Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman set they invested in is the focal point of the living room and is complemented by a rich Persian rug. The whole of the apartment is outfitted in this polished and worldly manner, and it was through the decorating process that Kenya realized her love of interiors—she is currently pursing her degree in interior design!

The cozy textures found throughout the space are not the only things that create warmth in the home; Kenya and Conner themselves are so warm and welcoming.

(Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: An eclectic mix of the things [we] love.

Inspiration: I draw inspiration from everywhere: design blogs, magazines, showrooms, gardens. I’m inspired by Mid-century furniture, industrial lighting, naturalist diagrams, the many beautiful cultures we’ve encountered in our travels.

Favorite Element: The light that comes into our home. We have so many windows!

Biggest Challenge: Working with the intricacies of an older apartment. It’s a home with a rich history, but that means a lot of of outdated amenities. The kitchen and the bathroom desperately need a renovation. So much of the challenge has been trying to fix it up while not spending too much money on a place we don’t own.

What Friends Say: Our friends often make flattering remarks about our home. They’ve told me that I should do this professionally, and it’s actually inspired me to go back to school for interior design. I honestly never considered myself a creative person. But once I moved into my first real place, I started trying to create a space that was warm and inviting, and really a reflection of us.

Biggest Embarrassment: Definitely the kitchen. It’s a tiny space that is hard to really utilize. And everything in there is horribly dated. That said, the kitchen is inevitably where everyone ends up hanging out when we have people over.

Proudest DIY: The first time I visited Paris, I found these wonderful preserved botanical presses from the 1920s at a vintage flea market. I cleaned them up and had them matted and framed. It was a great find that worked out well with a little bit of work.

Biggest Indulgence: Our Eames Armchair. It’s such a work of art and something we plan to pass down to our kids.

Best Advice: Surround yourself with beauty, and in beauty, I mean places you visit, people you love, and activities you enjoy. It gives you a strong sense of who you are, which then reflects in your home. Your home should tell your story! Also, meaningful pieces take time to acquire, so take your time. My favorite piece is a traditional Maasai stool I purchased in Tanzania that I wanted for years. And lastly, don’t feel compelled to place a piece where you first imagined it going. Furniture is not a permanent fixture. Move it around and have fun with it.

Dream Sources: Design Within Reach, Alameda Flea Market, Room & Board, Flora Grubb, ABC Carpet & Home, Hem, Restoration Hardware, Parisian flea markets


(Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)


  • Bench: Etsy
  • Persian rug: Iran
(Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)


  • Lamps: Design Within Reach
  • Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman: Herman Miller
  • Side table: Hem
  • Persian rug: Iran
  • Console table: West Elm
  • Media center: IKEA
  • Coffee table: Pottery Barn
  • Era armchairs: Design Within Reach
  • Brown leather chair: Crate & Barrel
  • Plants: Flora Grubb
  • Ceramics: Heath Ceramics, Atomic Garden in Oakland, West Elm, Gien
    in Paris
  • Maasai stool: Tanzanian street market
  • Botanical prints: Le Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouen in Paris
  • (Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)


    • Table: Crate & Barrel
    • Chairs: Crate & Barrel
    • Hanging pendant: Noguchi
    • Ceramics: Heath Ceramics
    • Wooden board: Heath Ceramics
    • Rustic wooden board: Hudson Grace in San Francisco
    • Persian rug: Iran
    (Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)


    • Bed: Restoration Hardware
    • Linens: Rough Linen
    • Pillows: The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul
    • Desk: Jeremiah Collection in San Francisco
    • Chair: Antiques & Modern in Berkeley
    • Bench: Alameda Flea Market
    • Dresser: Craigslist
    • Desk lamp: Room & Board
    • Wall lamp: Design Within Reach
    • Mirror: IKEA
    • Plants and pots: Flora Grubb
    • Sheep rug: Ecowool
    • Vintage wooden windows: market outside of Beijing
    • Curtains: West Elm
    (Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)


  • Stools: flea markets
  • Elephant prints: One Kings Lane
  • Towels/rug: The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul
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    Conner Jay and Kenya Moncada pose for a portrait with their dog, Hugo, in the living room. (Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)

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    Thanks, Kenya & Connor!